LEADING campaigners fighting intensive care cuts at IRH today slammed health board bosses for claiming the unit is still 'open'.

Dr Jacci Stoyle, who is standing for the LibDems at next year's Holyrood elections, has spoken of her outrage at their stance along with colleague and former provost Councillor Ciano Rebecchi.

The Tele revealed a fortnight ago that the intensive care was being axed and a petition against the move has gathered over 10,000 signatures.

But health board bureaucrats have sparked widespread anger by continuing to insist there is no change to intensive care - despite admitting that patients are being moved to Glasgow and then brought back to Greenock only when they no longer require intensive care.

They also gave no notice of the change to the local health and social care partnership and left unit staff stunned by telling them only a day beforehand.

Former nurse Ms Stoyle said: "There was an announcement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that the unit is remaining open - we are having the wool pulled over our eyes.

"There are no beds with ventilator facilities at the IRH.

"The two bedded ICU was shut before the lockdown and remains so.

"The theatre was converted into an ICU in the lockdown because surgery had been halted.

"It housed six beds with ventilators during that time, using some of the anaesthetic machines.

"This facility has now been closed because surgery has recommenced.

"The health board have renamed their high dependency unit and coronary care unit an intensive care unit so they can say it is open.

"Patients who need to go on a ventilator are now called ‘level 3 ICU’ patients and they are still to be transferred to the QEUH.

"The words have changed but the facts have not."

SNP councillor Chris McEleny met with the health secretary Jeane Freeman earlier this week and told the Tele afterwards that she was committed to keeping the unit open.

Fellow campaigner Cllr Rebecchi says there is a crisis of public confidence over the health board when it comes to services at our hospital.

He added: "The people of Inverclyde have lost their trust in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

"They know very well that our services are being systematically removed and that we are not being told the truth.

"We shall be writing to the health secretary, to ask her why the hospital which serves the 'Covid capital' is being starved of facilities and resources as we enter the winter season with a rise in coronavirus cases."